Brades, Monsterrat May 26:
The Caribbean island of Montserrat remains open for business and the islands services are fully functioning following the
collapse of the lava dome at the Soufrière Hills Volcano last Saturday.
The main adverse impact on the population from this collapse
was the heavy ash fall in the Isle Bay, Woodlands, Old Towne and Olveston areas. However the inhabitants in the very north
of the island such as St. Peters, Cudjoe Head, Baker Hill, Brades, Little Bay, St. Johns and Lookout were largely unaffected.
These areas remain lush and green and ash free.
Damage from the dome collapse was very localized and the population
remains safe. Areas that are affected by ash falls are being cleaned up, schools are open and government and commercial services
are operating normally. Water, telephone and electricity provision have also continued to operate normally, although residents
are being asked to restrict their use of water for the next week while repairs are done to the water pipes at Killicrankie.
General Elections slated for Wednesday May 31
will be going ahead as planned. In fact
many politicians are putting campaigning aside to personally assist with clean up efforts in the affected areas."
The tourism sector, which is one of the main contributors to the economy, has also
been largely unaffected. Montserrat’s airport at Gerald’s in the north has been in continuous operation since
the dome collapse and flights continue to operate as scheduled. The Port at Little Bay was also unaffected by Saturday’s
event and cargo ships and yachts have been able to call without interruption. Clean up efforts at the Vue Pointe Hotel, which
endured heavy ash falls is almost completed and the hotel will be full open by Friday May 26th, 2006. Villa rental agencies
and guesthouses are honouring all reservations and some of their guests have actually gotten involved in the clean up exercise.
"We would like to reassure the international world that we in Montserrat
are alive and well and are open for business," comments the Montserrat Tourist Board’s Director of Tourism, Ms. Ernestine
Cassell. "Montserrat remains open for visitors and is still safe to visit and all tourism events and festivals planned for
the next coming months will go ahead as planned. Persons coming to visit soon should not cancel their plans. We are also encouraging
potential visitors to pay us a visit to marvel at the majestic Soufriere Hills Volcano and the attractions that its destructive
force has created. This is indeed our greatest tourism attraction."
The Soufrière Hills Volcano became active in 1995. Increased
activity in 1997 led to the establishment of an exclusion zone around the volcano, which includes the capital city Plymouth.
All residents now live in the northernmost third of the island, which has been declared a safe zone. The Montserrat Volcano
Observatory (www.mvo.ms) confirmed that the lava dome collapsed over a three-hour period early on Saturday morning, leading
to mud flows around the volcano and surges along the north-east flank. Following a helicopter flight, the MVO reported that
nearly all the dome is gone and currently there is low-level activity.
Montserrat, a lush green and mountainous island of approximately 39 square
miles, lies in the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands. Known fondly as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, this pear shaped
island is a traveler’s paradise for nature lovers, divers, adventurers, family and villa vacationers, and honeymooners.
This British overseas territory boasts the spectacular Soufrière Hills Volcano, a modern day Pompeii in the form of its buried
former capital city Plymouth, alongside lush, green mountains, world class nature trails, deserted dark sand beaches, untouched
reefs and a quiet friendly charm reminiscent of the way the Caribbean used to be.